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My 14 year-old bichon is acting strangely. He was fine on

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My 14 year-old bichon is acting strangely. He was fine on Saturday (today is monday) at our cottage but is now shaking, not moving, just standing still and staring at nothing for long periods of time. He does have cataracts and is hard of hearing, but we
've known that for a while. His behaviour is out of character - is he sick or in pain? I was just cuddling with him (which he normally can't get enough of) and he wanted down and has been just standing in the middle of the room for about 45 minutes. I gave him rice for dinner tonight in case his stomach was upset, which he ate no problem. I can't tell if he's feeling sick or in pain. Help!
Hi there,

Thanks for your question regarding your 14 year old Bichon boy Casper who has been acting strangely over the last few days. This range of symptoms is definitely a little odd and there are a number of things that could be going on here. If he is eating with no issue, walking around ok and hasn't been wincing or crying when you pick him up, or when he is walking around, it is less likely that he is in pain, and of greater likelihood that he is unwell.

The cataracts and deafness would explain some of his behavior (staring at nothing for periods of time for example) - however I am sure you are used to these behaviors. There are a number potential causes for these symptoms in your boy ranging from something like canine brain aging (sort of like doggy dementia), to an internal organ issue, or even a developing endocrine condition like diabetes. If you have noticed him drink and urinate more over the last few days, then this is definitely further cause for concern.

Ideally you would get him along to your regular first tomorrow morning for a full physical exam and check up. Given his age and this behavior, I would also recommend a full blood panel and urinalysis if you can afford it - so in the morning, do try and collect a fresh urine sample to take in with you to get analyzed. For now, continue to offer the bland diet, however you could mix in some cooked, boneless, skinless chicken breast with the rice as well. Hopefully all is ok on the blood and urine testing and physical exam. If this is the case, then this behavior is most likely due to canine brain aging. you can read more about this online here:

Best of luck with your boy and let me know how you get on tomorrow. Please just let me know if you have any further questions.

Kind Regards,

Dr Edwards
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks for the info - as you said, we are used to the vision and hearing problems, but in spite of that he has remained engaged and wanting to be with the family. This is entirely out of character for him to reject any attention. I will see how tomorrow goes with a bland diet with your suggestions. If nothing changes we'll just see the vet and have some tests done.


Thanks again for your help!


No problem Lisa and best of luck. Let me know how things go later in the week if you get a chance.

Kind Regards,

Dr E
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